Springfield Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 22

The Double-A Cardinals finished a disappointing season being swept at home. Jose Garcia was among those who played well late.

The Springfield Cardinals continued their four-game series with the Tulsa Drillers on Wednesday night, and sent Deryk Hooker to the mound. Hooker had been much better since coming off of the disabled list, and he would pitch well, giving up three runs on seven hits over six innings while striking out five.

Unfortunately, Hooker was not backed up by much offense. Chris Swauger provided the only RBI of the night, as the Cardinals were only able to scratch out one hit against Trevor Scahill (8 IP, 1 ER).

The Cardinals' bullpen handled the final two innings, as Nick Greenwood surrendered two more runs, as the Cardinals lost the second game of the series, 5-1.

On Thursday night, the Cardinals played well in every facet of the game, a rarity in 2011.

Springfield received a great starting performance from Joe Kelly, as he went six innings, giving up just two earned runs on six hits, while striking out two and walking one.

The Cardinals' offense was also clicking, carried by a 4-for-5 performance from Jose Garcia and a 3-for-5, four-RBI night from Charles Cutler, including his fifth home run of the year. Springfield also received RBI from Donovan Solano and Chris Swauger.

Kelly turned it over to the bullpen in the seventh, and Jorge Rondon, Samuel Freeman and Jeff Lyman each turned in a perfect frame, combining for four strikeouts.

Firing on all cylinders, the Springfield Cardinals cruised to a 7-3 victory.

Playing their final road game of the year on Friday night, the Cardinals sent their ace, Shelby Miller, to the hill in his last outing of the campaign.

Miller was once again dominant, turning in perhaps his best outing since being called up to Double-A, and certainly his best since June. Miller went eight scoreless innings, only giving up two hits while striking out nine.

The Cardinals' offense gave their ace all he needed when Cutler drove in his 34th run of the season. Just to add to his dominance, Miller added an RBI to his night, his second RBI of the year. Miller finished the season with a .182 batting average.

With a 3-0 lead heading into the ninth inning, Springfield turned the ball over to Jordan Swagerty. He pitched a perfect, three up, three down inning to notch his third save of the season. Springfield earned a split of the series with a 3-0 victory on Friday night. But it would be their last win of the 2011 season.

Springfield came home to Hammons Field to open up a three-game series with Arkansas Travelers to close out the season but were swept.

On Saturday, the Cardinals sent John Gast to the mound and the lefty was hit around a little bit over his five innings of work. Gast surrendered five runs on 10 hits, giving up two home runs.

Matt Adams continued his record-breaking season, as he drove in his 101st RBI and hit his 32nd home run of the year. He became the first Springfield Cardinal to reach the 100 RBI plateau and continued to set the new season record for home runs in a season.

The Cardinals also received a home run from Daryl Jones, his fourth since returning to Springfield, and Ryan Jackson notched an RBI.

Unfortunately, it would not be enough to overcome the pitching, as the bullpen surrendered two more runs. Springfield dropped the first game of the series, 7-4.

On Sunday afternoon, Springfield jumped out to an early 3-0 lead when Travis Tartamella stroked a two-RBI single to left field. A few batters later, Ryan Jackson drove in his 73rd run of the season as the Cardinals took a 3-0 lead.

Scott Schneider was cruising through the first four innings, as he had not even allowed a hit, while striking out three. But the wheels fell off in the fifth. Schneider promptly gave up three hits and walked two, only recording one out in the fifth inning before turning it over to Freeman and the bullpen. Freeman allowed all of the runners that belonged to Schneider to come around to score. Schneider ended up being charged with five runs, only one of which was earned.

The Cardinals saw the 3-0 lead turn into a 6-0 deficit after five innings of play. The Cardinals remained quiet the rest of the day as Tulsa piled on, knocking off Springfield, 10-3.

On the final day of the regular season, over 9,500 fans turned out at Hammons Field… unfortunately it appeared that the Cardinals' bats were not in attendance.

Deryk Hooker made the start and went five innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, while notching two strikeouts and walking one.

Hooker departed in the sixth, and Kevin Thomas came in to pitch. He worked two innings, and allowed one run. The Cardinals were down 6-0 heading to the eighth inning. Then Jorge Rondon came in yielded five earned runs. Suddenly, Springfield was down 11-0 going into the bottom of the ninth.

In danger of being shut out in front of the fifth-largest crowd in franchise history, Springfield rallied for one run, when Jim Rapoport singled to score Chris Swauger. But that was all that the Springfield offense could manage, as they dropped the final game of the season 11-1.

Who's Hot

Jose Garcia - Garcia was 7-for-19 (.368) over his last seven games and has very quietly put together a very impressive offensive season. Garcia finished with a .318 batting average and had five home runs with 38 RBI.

Shelby Miller - During his stay in Double-A, Miller certainly had some learning pains… on the field and off, but he certainly finished strongly. Miller gave up just one earned run in his final 13 innings in the Texas League, while striking out 15.

How They Stack Up

Final second half standings – Texas League North

W L PCT GB Home  Away  Div  Streak Last10
NW Arkansas 38 32 .543 - 20-14 18-18 24-22 L1 5-5
Tulsa 35 35 .500 3.0 17-19 18-16 27-19 W1 6-4
Arkansas 32 38 .457 6.0 16-18 16-20 20-26 W3 5-5
Springfield 30 40 .429 8.0 15-21 15-19 21-25 L3 4-6

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#35 Francisco Samuel – Ended the season on the disabled list.

#34 Ryan Jackson – Jackson finished the season on a little bit of a cold streak. He hit just .241 with two homers and 12 RBI in the month of August, and was 4-for-14 (.286) in four September games. But all in all, Jackson had a tremendous offensive season for a player who some doubted could hack it in Double-A. Jackson finished with a .278 average and had 11 home runs and 73 RBI.

#33 Matt Adams –It is safe to say that we have seen the last of last Matt Adams' name this low on a prospect list. Adams absolutely tore apart Texas League pitching this season, on his way to being named the Texas League Player of the Year and setting record after record. Adams finished with a .300 batting average, 32 home runs and 101 RBI. He finished fifth in the league in hitting, second in home runs and led the league in RBI, slugging percentage (.566) and HR/AB ratio (14.47). Adams set franchise records for home runs in a season and RBI in a season.

#28 John Gast – Gast ended the season on a losing skid, dropping his last three decisions. His last win came on August 7. Even with the rough stretch, Gast finished 4-4, with a 4.08 ERA. The lefty was 2-1, with a 2.63 ERA at Hammons Field.

#27 Joe Kelly – Kelly was solid his last time out, going six innings, giving up two runs and earning his sixth Texas League win. Kelly finished the season at 6-4, with a 5.01 ERA. He was much better on the road, going 5-1, with a 3.22 ERA away from Hammons Field.

#19 Tommy Pham – Remained on the club's disabled list.

#18 Deryk Hooker – Hooker was hit around a little in his last start of the season, giving up five earned runs in five innings of work, giving up five runs, only three of which were earned. Hooker finished 2-6, with a 4.94 ERA, but he was twice named the Texas League Player of the Week.

#2 Zack Cox – It is definitely worth remembering that Zack Cox was hitting .200 on June 30. From July on, he was one of the best hitters in all of baseball… Major League Baseball included. Cox was named the organization's Player of the Month in August after hitting .333, with five home runs and 19 RBI. Cox finished the season in a little bit of a slump, ending with a line of .293, with 10 homers and 48 RBI. Cox improved in every area of the game during his first full professional season.

#1 Shelby Miller – Miller went through a lot in his time in Double-A. He was named one of the best pitching prospects in all of Minor League Baseball by many prognosticators in their midseason prospect lists. But Miller struggled in August, going 2-1, but he had a 4.60 ERA and was suspended by the organization.

If his last two starts are any indication, he learned his lesson from the messages received, both on and off the field. Miller gave up just one earned run in his final 13 innings. Miller probably saved the best for last, as he was downright dominant in his final start of 2011, going eight shutout innings, giving up just two hits while striking out nine.

Miller appears to have righted the ship, and will likely be at the top of many prospect lists after putting the finishing touches on his line of 9-3, with a 2.70 ERA in 86 2/3 Double-A innings. In those 86 2/3 innings, Miller set down 89 Texas League hitters with the strikeout.

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